U.S. savings bonds go paperlesson May 21, 2012 @ 4:38 am (Updated: 6:25 am - 5/21/12 )
A lot of you may have had the experience of receiving a savings bond in a paper envelope from grandma or grandpa on your birthday or another special occasion growing up.
It wasn't worth the amount printed at the time, but you knew you were holding something that would be worth $25 or $50 or $100 in a few years.
But kids can no longer have that experience. Paper savings bonds are history. The paper version is gone as of this year.
You can't go to a bank and get one. You can't order one from the Treasury Department.
Savings bonds went all-electronic on January 1.
That means no more envelopes from grandparents, and no more paper bond to hold. All you can do is show your child their balance on a computer screen.
Jerry Kelly, with the US Treasury Department, said going paperless will save the federal government about $120 million over the next five years.
"The savings come from postage we spend to mail the bonds to customers, the fees we pay to banks and other agents to process the sales orders, as well as some work on our end to process the sales orders, and customer service work after the fact," he said.
To give a bond today, you have to go online and register. It takes about ten minutes, if you're computer literate. But my 79-year-old dad had a lot of trouble getting it going, and he's on his laptop every day.
Kelly said they have gotten complaints about the new system.
"We heard some frustration stories," said Kelly.
But he believes the convenience of online system will win over customers in the long run.
"No longer do you have to toddle down to your bank," he said. "You can do it from the convenience of your home after you spend that 10 minutes or so setting up your account. You're ready to go."
The Treasury Department is already seeing an increase in people buying bonds this year as compared to last.
But I can tell you, getting a note from grandpa saying, 'I bought you a savings bond' is no where near as satisfying as holding one in your hand.
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